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Grant funding intended to improve access to cancer screenings in underserved communities
Information provided by the Office of Congressman Brian Higgins
Congressman Brian Higgins announced a federal grant totaling $500,000 was awarded to the Community Health Center of Buffalo (CHCB). Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Accelerated Cancer Screening program, the grant is designed to improve access to screenings and early detection in Western New York’s underserved communities.
“Early detection is our best protection again cancer. Unfortunately, many people, especially those living in underserved communities, lack access to annual screenings and preventative care,” Higgins said. “This grant for Community Health Center of Buffalo expands on the work taking place at designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, like Roswell Park, by expanding access to life-saving screenings and treatments. Thanks to this funding, we are building on efforts to reach the goals of President Biden’s ‘Cancer Moonshot’ and end cancer as we know it.”
One year ago, Biden reignited the “Cancer Moonshot,” setting new national goals to cut the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that, during the coronavirus pandemic, 9.5 million cancer screenings were missed across the country. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be over 1.9 million cancer diagnoses in 2023, and more than 600,000 cancer-related deaths.
Working in close partnership with National Cancer Institute – NCI-designated cancer centers, the accelerated cancer screening program supports health centers to increase equitable access to cancer screening and referral care, as well as treatment by enhancing education, case management, outreach and other enabling services. The program has two main objectives: increasing the number and percentage of patients screened for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer; and increasing the number of patients assisted with accessing follow-up care, including diagnostic services, therapies and clinical trials within 30 days of receiving an abnormal cancer screening. Funding from the program supports access and affordability, patient experience, screening and workforce development.
This year, the Health Resources and Services Administration invested $11 million in the accelerating cancer screening program, doubling the $5 million invested in 2022. The $500,000 grant award to the Community Health Center of Buffalo is one of just 22 awarded across the country this year.
Higgins is also leading efforts to improve cancer screening through his Increasing Access to Lung Cancer Screening Act. Lung cancer accounts for 25% of all cancer-related deaths, claiming more lives than breast, colorectal and prostate cancers combined. The bill reduces barriers to screening, particularly in underserved communities, by requiring Medicaid to cover lung cancer screening, and prohibiting public and private insurers from requiring prior authorization for lung cancer screening.
The Community Health Center of Buffalo is a Federally Qualified Health Center operating patient centers across Western New York, in addition to a mobile health unit. As a National Health Services Corps site, CHCB is committed to serving all patients, regardless of ability to pay, offering discounted fees for patients who qualify, and not denying services based on a patient’s race, color, sex, national origin, disability, religion or sexual orientation. To learn more, visit https://chcb.net/.